post card from the early 1900’s
“We cannot discover ourselves without first discovering the universe, the earth, and the imperatives of our own being” – Thomas Berry
I found the Berry quote in Poetic Medicine by John Fox. It’s so true. The earth is an integral part of our personalities, even if we are city dwellers. The earth we stand on, the water we drink, and the air we breathe is as real as our own bodies. The fire of universal themes is shared by all people and cultures.
My FOO, or family of origin, was filled with certain taboos. Issues were often hidden. Things had to look good on the surface, but within that outer appearance was the semblance of safety. Rules were akin to what was expected behavior in the dominant society. Pull yourself up. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t talk about religion or politics in polite company. That’s not what I heard late at night when the adults thought the kids were asleep.
As I grow older, I am less afraid to examine the truth and to crack open what it means to be human. To say these are my stories and I own them is to expose myself. To tell them is to heal.
At times, writing a “memoir” sounds so stilted but there is no turning back. There is no safety zone either. Having a prim and proper critic at your shoulder is so repressive. The Miley in all of us rebels. It’s human. Let them do their dances. I wanted to do my mine! Aren’t there worse things in life? Sweating it out, bulges, aches, and stiff joints is part of the process. What is the difference between raunchy and real anyway? Birth is wide open and so is writing.
Whenever I get stuck for blogpost idea I take down a box of old photos and family stuff. In the box today I found postcards from 1901 or 1907, it’s hard to make out the exact year. There’s no text on this one cent post card. It must have been mailed to my grandfather when he was in medical school because my father wasn’t born until 1922.
Was this a love message from an admirer?
For me, the Why Not? topic is like finding an old love letter. It’s about continuing to write the whole story unpeeled like a naked carrot pulled from the ground. It’s a bit scary for those of us who are not usually exhibitionists.
Who would want to read my story anyway? Can I really talk about that incident?
As my instructors say, just get the bare bones down. Make an outline. In the book I get to let loose about anything, but certainly not everything. Some significant features in a lifetime are sacred and private. For those us who create, it’s in our blood. Not to create is to perish.
Here are four tips for living (or writing) from Angeles Arrien’s, The Four Fold Way. These four archetypes based on the four directions and traditions of Native American teachings. Each of the four directions is based on method and a sacred meaning and has significance. The archetypes below can applied to writing our stories. See if any of these resonate.
- “Show up, or choose to be present” (Warrior)
- “Pay attention to what has heart and meaning” (Healer)
- “Tell the truth without blame or judgment” (Visionary)
- “Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome” (Teacher)
Journal prompt: Dare to write about the thing you would never want to see published. Don’t be concerned about sharing it right now. In fact, keep it private in your journal. Later on, you may have the courage to divulge or figure out how to express that feeling.
Why not? Dare to create from the authentic self.
Within the experience of truth telling is power.
Until next time and thank you for reading,
Copyright © 2013 by Susan E. Rowland All rights reserved